Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Million Good Reasons To Return To Writing Reviews!

I've recently found out that I have reached over 1,000,000 views on my humble blog. Thanks to the readers, old and new, who have made this possible and helped me get my opinions on cinema out there.

Because of this milestone, I've decided to come back to the old blog and start writing reviews again. I miss mingling with you all, and keeping this site as a personal diary of films I adore and films I will avoid at all cost.

Thanks again everyone. I'm so happy to be back again :)

The Maltese Falcon (1941) - ★★★★★

Director: John Huston
Writers: John Huston (Screenplay), Dashiell Hammett (Novels)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Gladys George, Barton MacLane, Ward Bond, Elisha Cook Jr.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever seen the masterpiece that is The Maltese Falcon. I've seen a lot of classic films that are hyped up to be something better than they really are. This happens to be a film with a high reputation that is fully justified, and if anything, underrated. I'd give it a perfect 10/10. It has complex characters and simple characters, moments of sharp wit and dry humour, truly incredible cinematography, and a story that keeps you guessing and begging for more. I found myself utterly wrapped in the mystery of the missing maltese falcon statue. Truly, it was the whirlwind performances by Bogart, Astor, Lorre, and Greenstreet which made the movie as legendary as it is.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Annabelle (2014) - Read my review here!

Long time, no see! If you're interested in horror movies, or are planning to see Annabelle, then you should read my article first.

Thursday, 31 July 2014


To my faithful readers and those just passing by,

I have big news. I am now writing for a new website called: ' SUBLIMEZOO.COM '

I deal exclusively with movie reviews, particularly with the new releases. It's a really cool site that dishes out all kinds of entertainment news to do with the world of cinema. If you want a taste of what kind of reviews I'll be doing, you can read my very first one here:

It's a review of the film '22 Jump Street.'

I will keep my blog, "The Movie Man," alive because... the sentimental value is too great. I truly loved the time I spent writing for you guys. The comments I've received and the friends I've made here has been such a joy.

I hope you can all support me, and read my reviews on Sublime Zoo. I haven't changed a thing about the way I write. I'm still The Movie Man, just on a different platform now.

Seriously, thank you all for making blogging one of the greatest experiences of my life. This is just a new chapter in my journey, and I hope you can all continue it with me.

Thanks again,

Ben 'The Movie Man."

Sunday, 22 June 2014

El Orfanato "The Orphanage" (2007) - ★★★★

Director: J.A. Bayona
Writer: Sergio G. Sanchez (screenplay)
Stars: Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep

I rented The Orphanage, expecting to be scared out of my wits. I did not expect it to be one of the most touching horror films I've ever seen. It holds a very dear place in my heart now, for it is one of only two horror films that has ever made me shed a tear (the other being Hideo Nakata's stunning Japanese horror, Dark Water) (2002). It's the kind of movie that spends most of its time creating such a stunning, perfect atmosphere. With this atmosphere, there is no need for cheap scares and thrills. The suspense was constant for me. While The Orphanage was suspenseful, it made me scream out loud only once (and trust me, I scream many times during most horror films). So it isn't all that horrifying, but the story, the acting, the music, the cinematography... every other aspect in this film truly captivated me. I really enjoyed The Orphanage. It's one of the best "horror" films I've seen in many years.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

10 Film Facts You Didn't Know About Me

1. The Land Before Time is a childhood favourite of mine. I work in a child-care, and I watched it with a new generation of children. They were all enthralled! Meanwhile, I had to turn away because I got overly emotional and had to fight back tears. 

The Land Before Time (1988)

2. I truly enjoy watching "Twilight." It took me out of the depressing world of high school, and to this day I still think it's a good film. I guess it is my guiltiest pleasure of all.

3. James Franco is a good actor, but for some reason, I don't like him as a person. He annoys me so much! 
James Franco everybody...

4. The only film I've ever walked out on was "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." I found it so unfunny that it aggravated me. It was my 14th birthday too. There's only so much "fat guy gets hurt" humour I can take, until it becomes as irritating as the sound of nails scraping a chalkboard.

5. I think Studio Ghibli is a vastly superior animation company to Disney, because of their quality of stories, scores, and even animation. Few Disney films stand up with the best of Ghibli.

A collection of some of the works from Studio Ghibli.
6. Two directors are notorious for their disturbing actions in the past. Woody Allen, and Roman Polanski. I tend to hold the viewpoint that "talent is talent," and these men have talent. I don't agree with their actions... but I love their films. 

7. The first gay film I ever saw was an Aussie film called "The Sum of Us," starring Russell Crowe. I was 6 years old, and it was my first time seeing two men kiss. I can't even describe just how obsessed I was with that film. It was an important part of my life.

Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson in "The Sum of Us." Love these Aussie legends <3
8. Glenn Close is in my opinion the most underrated actress of all time. As much as I adore actresses like Bette Davis and Meryl Streep, I feel Close deserves just as much praise. 

9. The score to the film "Monster" (2003), by Brian Transeau  is one of the most moving pieces of music I've ever heard. No other score captures the feelings of heart-ache and depression quite like this underrated masterpiece. 

Theron's performance, and Transeau's score, moved me to tears. Such a powerful, underrated film.
Listen to the score in the video below:

10. The film "United 93" devastated me to the point where my hands were shaking, and I couldn't even talk because I was so overcome with emotion.

I wasn't aware of what would happen at the end of United 93. I've never been so affected by a film in my life.

There you go guys. These are just some random facts about myself. I will try to do this at least once a month, so you can get to know me more as I review films. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Divergent (2014) - ★★★½

Director: Neil Burger
Writers: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay), Veronica Roth (Novel)
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet

I've seen so many YA (young-adult) films in the past 6 years, that they're all starting to blend in together and fade out of my memory. I disliked almost every modern YA movie I've seen during this period of time, because they're more silly than entertaining, they're poorly acted, poorly written, poorly produced, and quite frankly, poor excuses for films. While there are a few exceptions, like The Hunger Games (2012), this whole genre, whether they be book or film, stinks to high heaven with a lack of originality.

Divergent is a silly film.  Yet, I find its characters are interesting, the cast is brilliant, the soundtrack is unique, the set-production/cinematography is good, and most importantly, it's consistently entertaining. These critiques alone make Divergent stand as one of the best YA films made in recent years.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) - ★★★★½

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Stefan Zwig (inspired by the works), Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness (Story)
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray, Mathieu Amalric, Edward Norton... and many more.

The Grand Budapest Hotel gave me one of the grandest experiences I've ever had at the cinema. It's stunning to look at, pleasing to listen to, and filled with characters that tickled my funny bone from start to finish. It reminded me a lot of Grand Hotel (1932), a classic that starred many of Hollywood's greatest actors of that time. Except it contained Anderson's flare for tongue-in-cheek humour, and over-the-top set production and style. I truly loved this film, and I loved seeing many of my favourite actors take turns in bringing their own personal flare to the screen. It's films like this that ignite my passion for cinema. You can tell that it's a labour of love, and a film that may just stand the test of time.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Noah (2014) - ★★★

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth

I look back on Noah with fondness. It's hard to explain why, but I feel nothing but warmth towards this film after having seen it. Noah is far from a perfect film. It had an absolutely stellar first half, and an absolutely shit second half. They almost balance each other out, but I'd say the greatness we witnessed in the first half saved the film from being a bad movie. I don't know what people are talking about when they call this an 'epic.' Let me clarify... I don't think this is an epic film. The special effects and story itself is grand, that's for sure. However, the small cast and medium length running time just puts it into the category of 'big budget production.' Never the less, it was an entertaining film for the most part. There are things in it that are forgettable, and there are things that are absolutely unforgettable.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

My Girl (2005) | ★★★★½ [Korean Drama TV Series]

Genre: Korean Drama, Romantic Comedy.
Stars: Da-hae Lee, Dong-Wook Lee, Jun-ki Lee, Si-Yeon Park, Seok-Hwan Ah, Hie-bong Byeon, Ran Choi

My Girl is up there with the funniest Korean dramas I’ve ever seen. It was so refreshing to watch, breathing life into a genre that I was starting to find repetitive and unexciting. It contains many of the things I love about Korean dramas, and cuts out almost all of the things I hate about them. It’s just a perfect show for me! Words cannot do justice to how immensely joyful I felt whilst watching My Girl. The characters were hilarious, the story was hysterical, and the romance had everything I wanted and more. Each episode made me laugh, swoon, and more than a little emotional. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that. If it weren't for the sub-par ending, I'd call this the greatest romantic-comedy I've ever seen. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Spin-Off Blogathon!

The amazingly awesome Sati at The Cinematic Corner created this really interesting Blogathon. If you'd like to partake, you can find the original article here.

Here are the rules:

1. Choose a character that you love and would like to see as a leading character in the movie and write why you chose this character and what that movie would be like 

2. Don't choose leading characters or supporting characters with lots of screentime, the goal is to focus on minor characters who have between 1-5 scenes. However if you really loved a character who is on screen for more than that, go for it.


Billy Elliot was an Oscar nominated film by Stephen Daldry. It is set in a coal mining town, where almost all of the miners are on strike. People can barely afford to eat, and the only pass time for the young children are: school, boxing for boys, and ballet for girl's. This is a film about a young man named Billy Elliot, who chose to do ballet, and overcame all of the adversity that came with it. 

Michael Caffrey was Billy's best friend, who fully supported him in his efforts to become a ballet dancer. He is one of the kindest, most down to earth young men I've ever seen in a film. What makes him so interesting is the secret that he hides. 

Michael likes to dress in women's clothing, and wear make-up. Imagine the kind of inner conflict this poor boy had to deal with... and the social stigma that he would have to face in the future. He lives in a town filled with sexist, bigoted miners that believe men should act a certain way. What I loved most about Michael, was the way he could see the silver lining in everything. He was the one supporting Billy, even though it was he himself who faced greater troubles. There were many scenes where I just wanted to give him a hug, because life must have been very confusing for him. 

I would love to see a film about Michael, because there just aren't enough films that show the struggle of transgender children. 

If Stephen Daldry made a film dedicated to Michael's journey to acceptance, then that would be a ground-breaking and remarkable piece of cinema. *SPOILER*, By the end of the movie 'Billy Elliot', you see Michael all grown up wearing women's clothing and sitting next to what appears to be his boyfriend. He looks like he made it into some kind of art community, and... he just looked happy. Imagine how powerful this story could be for a young transgender child struggling to come to terms with their feelings. Now this is a character that would be remembered for generations to come.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Starman (1984) - ★★★★★

Director: John Carpenter
Writers: Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel

Starman is my favourite sci-fi film of all time, and one of my favourite romances. It saddens me to see that hardly anyone knows of this film, when there's so much beauty to be found within this tale. In my opinion, Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges give their career best performances in Starman. Their chemistry was as powerful as any I've ever seen captured on film, and the pure emotion they expressed was more believable than almost any other. It features some really nice special effects, fantastic cinematography, and some of the most beautiful dialogue I've ever heard in my entire life. On top of all this, it is scored by the brilliant Jack Nitzche, who created one of the most soul-touching compositions I've ever heard in a movie. I love this film as much, probably more, than any other I've ever seen.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) - ★★★★

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writers: Jerry Leichtling, Arlene Sarner
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Kevin J. O'Connor, Jim Carrey, Helen Hunt, Sofia Coppola, Maureen O'Sullivan, Leon Ames, Barbara Harris, Catherine Hicks

Peggy Sue Got Married is a film with a premise that delves into many diverse, powerful emotions. Memories, nostalgia, lost relatives and friends, old crushes, new passions, and all the possibilities in the world are just some of the things explored in this thoroughly engrossing film. Kathleen Turner gives arguably her greatest performance as Peggy Sue, earning her a well deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress. This film also served as an early spark in the acting career's of Jim Carrey, Helen Hunt, Joan Allen, and most notably, Nicolas Cage. It's far from a masterpiece. It seems more like a fun project that Francis Ford Coppola decided to take on. What I love most about this movie is the way it opens our minds to ask "what if I could do it all over again?" That made this film a really fun, emotional experience.

The Movie Man gets a Liebster Award

The Vern at The Video Vortex has nominated me for a Liebster Award, and I couldn't be more happy or proud. It seems fitting that Vern has nominated me for my very first award, for he was the very first blogger to ever give me any feedback and encouragement (way back in 2012). You should visit his blog if you get the chance. I now have to nominate 11 bloggers, but first I need to establish the rules.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Wolf Creek 2 (2014) - ★★★½ The Comeback Review!

Director: Greg McLean
Writer: Greg McLean
Stars: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn, Philippe Klaus

Wow. Wow. Wow. When I sum up my experience of watching Wolf Creek 2, all I can say is that it is one darn entertaining, suspenseful piece of cinema! This is the kind of film that will put you through a roller-coaster of emotions. It aims to horrify the audience, and keep them in a constant state of suspense. While I wasn't horrified in the least, there were moments that had me at the edge of my seat in anticipation of what would happen next! Not to mention, the humour and hilarious stereotyping that is the serial killer, Mick Taylor, made me laugh more than it should have! He said some truly hilarious things, and his over-the-top accent and Australian slang just made the funniness of it all increase by ten-fold. So one second I would be biting my nails in suspense, and the next I would be laughing out loud in the cinema! I really liked Wolf Creek 2. It's far from horrifying, but so worth watching!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Academy Awards 2014 | My Official Predictions

Best Picture

I think almost all of us realise that Best Picture will go to one of three movies. They are: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity. The other films are all fine films, and two of them I think are outstandingly good (Her & The Wolf of Wall Street). I'm almost certain that the top prize will go to 12 Years, but who knows, maybe the Academy voters will create an upset once again by voting for an inferior, "funner" film (such as American Hustle). After all the awards buzz, 12 Years garnered the top honours, which makes it a shoe in for the Oscar for Best Picture. 

Best Director

Alexander Payne and David O. Russell seem to be the most unlikely of the nominees to win the award, for they themselves have garnered very little buzz. Martin Scorsese could surprise us all with a win, seeing as he's worked with many people in the business and turned out one of his career best films. Steve McQueen crafted what many see as a 'masterpiece of cinema,' so that makes him a big contender. However, it is Alfonso Cuaron and his magical directorial wizardry that garnered the most love during awards season, so I place my bet firmly on him. 

Best Actor

I'd consider it a pretty big upset if anyone other than Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor this year. No one saw his turn as a cowboy dying of aids coming, and man did he make many jaws drop. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the clear runner up, followed by DiCaprio's hilarious turn as the villainous Wolf of Wall Street. Bruce Dern doesn't seem to be in the race, but god knows he deserves an Oscar. As for Christian Bale, he was good in American Hustle, but far weaker than all the other nominees. 

Best Actress

I say with confidence that I think Cate Blanchett will win the Oscar this year. Of all the nominees, it was her stunning turn as the mentally unstable Jasmine that proved to be a performance for the ages. Judi Dench gave one of her greatest performances in Philomena, which could serve as an upset this year. Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams are the biggest threats to Blanchett, but they shouldn't even be serious contenders for the Oscar. Meryl Streep doesn't stand a chance, for she's been nominated too many times. Also, her performance, while fiery and outstanding, is not her greatest performance to date. Dench is the only REAL competition in the field, but popularity has served as a much bigger threat than talent in the past (such as when Gwyneth Paltrow beat Blanchett in 1998).

Best Supporting Actor

Supporting Actor is by far the most unpredictable category this year. Barkhad Abdi stunned everyone with his debut, and garnered much awards buzz this season. Jared Leto won many awards, and is a very popular, almost veteran actor that made a huge comeback this year as a trans-gender man dying of aids. I'd put my money on one of them, however, Michael Fassbender could surprise everyone and win for his portrayal as a detestable plantation owner. He is very popular, and in my opinion, he gave a perfect performance. As for Bradley Cooper and Jonah Hill, I thought they were both great in their respective roles, but neither of them stand a chance at winning. If I had to predict a winner, I'd go with Barkhad Abdi based on his recent popularity. 

                             Best Supporting Actress

I have a sickening feeling that Jennifer Lawrence is going to win this year. She gave the most mediocre performance out of all the nominees in every acting category. However, her popularity amongst her peers, and indeed around the world, is what seems to make her such a heavy favorite at these awards ceremonies. Lupita Nyong'o on the other hand gave a heart-wrenching performance, and has garnered much awards buzz this season. Julia Roberts and June Squibb seem to have faded into the background of the nominees, which is saddening because they were both phenomenal. Sally Hawkins, who was perfection in Blue Jasmine, has also faded out of contention really. So I'll say Lawrence will win, even if it is a disgusting decision by the Academy.

The Greatest Romance Movies of All Time

These are the greatest romance films I've ever seen. It is a list that shall forever grow with every masterpiece of love and heart-ache that I see. The romances range from the humble spark between tramp and flower-girl (City Lights), to the fiery passion between two young women (Blue is the Warmest Colour).

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Top 16 Best Supporting Actress Performances

Top 16 Best Supporting Actress Performances
of the Last Decade (2000 to 2009)

If you think there are performances that should be on the list, please tell me in the comments. I probably haven't seen them yet, so it would be great to get some feedback. Thanks as always, - Ben.

If you like this list, check out my other lists!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Red Shoes (1948) - ★★★★★

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Writers: Hans Christian Andersen (fairytale), Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell (screenplay)
Stars: Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Esmond Knight, Robert Helpmann

The Red Shoes is one of the most spectacular films I've ever seen. It turned me (someone who has never found ballet all that interesting) into a huge fan of the art. There are sequences in this film that are so magical... so exquisite... that they just take my breath away. This is a film that has everything a true fan of cinema could possibly want, from groundbreaking special effects, to mesmerising choreography, to the gorgeous score by Brian Easdale, and of course, the unforgettable performances by Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook. It is a film that is way before its time. It's the kind of film that puts modern cinema to shame. I've never missed the golden age of cinema more than now, and it is because The Red Shoes is such a perfect display of beauty and cinematic mastery. Not only is it one of the best movies of its genre, it's one of the greatest movies of all time.